Tree Trunks…Shrimp Boil…Kindey Failure



Hi Friends-

Some of you know, but most of you probably don’t know what been going on with me over the past month. Now that I’m home and quite stable, I wanted to share what happened with everyone. The below entries were posted in a more private environment over the 1st couple weeks. At the end of that, I’ll share some thoughts and begin telling the story. Not so much the medical story….the other one, the one that goes into my head from the moment I walked into the ER a month ago. I’m confused about a couple things, but much less confused about a couple more important things. I hope you’ll join me as I unpack.





Written Jan12, 2018

John’s Story

As most of you know, if you’re on this site at least, John has been in the hospital this week. Due to the overwhelming love and support we’ve received from all of you I decided it would be best to set up a caring bridge site to keep you updated. We were fortunate enough to spend New Years in Chicago with John’s family. During our travels John’s feet began to swell. After a couple of days being home he noticed the swelling was continuing to get worse. He went to the ER Tuesday evening, January 9th. They discovered that his kidneys were not functioning properly and his blood pressure was extremely high. He was admitted to the hospital and placed in the ICU the following day. Thursday night they started John and dialysis. They are working on getting his vitals stable so that they can do a biopsy of his kidney which is currently scheduled for Tuesday. Please be in prayer that they can regulate his vitals, especially his blood pressure and kidney function, so that they can do the biopsy. Also please be in prayer for peace for John and I and strength for me as I spend a lot of time at the hospital with John but also still want to love the boys well.
Thankful for the love and support of our family. John’s brother was able to come out to stay with us and my parents are here to help with the kids and the house. We are extremely grateful for all of your love and support as well. The texts and phone calls have meant a lot to us. Please forgive us as we have been unable to respond to everyone as we focus on improving John’s health. Please look for updates here and we look forward to reading your messages of love and encouragement as we’re able.

Been a long weekend…

Journal entry by Janice Dickinson —

Thanks for all your prayers over the weekend as they have carried us through. It was a long weekend. John developed a blood infection which greatly affected his health. We are still waiting on the results of type of infection. They started him on antibiotics, gave him a blood transfusion and dialysis a few times. This has allowed them to stabilize him. They’ve also been able to regulate his blood pressure for the most part which is a huge praise.

We won’t know much more about original cause or treatment plan until they are able to biopsy his kidneys. The biopsy is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. Please be in prayer with us that his blood pressure will be stable enough and his kidney function high enough to receive the biopsy tomorrow.

Out of respect for John’s wishes please don’t post anything on social media.

Biopsy postponed

Journal entry by Janice Dickinson —
This afternoon we were told the kidney biopsy is postponed until the blood infection is taken care of. It’s looking like John will be in the hospital for at least a week more. Anyone who knows John knows he has a love for food. This hospital stay has introduce him to a salt free sugar free diet that he has managed to eat. Thankful he has some of his appetite back.
This evening he was able to FaceTime with the boys. It was good for the boys to see him and spend a few minutes talking with him.

The waiting

Journal entry by Janice Dickinson —

Praise God John is out of ICU and in a regular room. The blood infection is now being treated with antibiotics. So we wait for the antibiotics to work before the biopsy will take place. He is continuing with dialysis. We want to limit visitors as he is tired and needs to rest, short visits are ok but please check with Rebecca first.

For those who may not know Johns parent came in this weekend. Teresa is still here taking turns with Rebecca staying with a John. As you pray for a John please lift these two ladies up in prayer as well. We thank you for all your prayers and notes of love and encouragement as we walk this path.

John’s Home

Journal entry by Rebecca Pack —

John has continued to improve and was released from the hospital this evening. They determined the blood infection to be MSSA which will need to be treated with antibiotic through at least February 8th. They will need to wait until the infection is completely cleared and he finishes with antibiotics before they can do further testing of his kidneys. He will continue to have dialysis 3 days a week at a dialysis center.

A meal train has been set up and is greatly appreciated. If you’d like to bring a meal you can sign up at

Big Feelings…

Journal entry by John Pack —

Hey Everyone-

Much has happened with me medically over the past month. Many of you have read the other posts on this blog and have a sense for my situation. Others of you are only just now learning of what has happened and is happening with me.

I went to the ER on Jan 9th with swollen legs and labored breathing. My blood pressure was 244/140 so at least I got to cut in line and have a nice bed while I waiting for the doctor. I soon learned that both my kidneys were virtually shut down and that I needed to be prepped for dialysis right away. A catheter was installed into my heart to provide a port for the hoses that connect me to the dialysis machine. It must have been two for one day because they ended up installing the catheter and also a serious blood infection into my body that day. This drastically changed my treatment plan, the infection itself was soon effecting me in a way that had the Dr.’s and my family worried for my life. I did stabilize in the hospital and ended up staying for about 12 days. Thing is, that time wasn’t spent figuring out why my kidneys died suddenly, it was simply spent getting me through the blood infection I contracted. Once I was quite stable, I was released and then immediately started a 3 day per week, 4 hours per day dialysis regiment at a local clinic. Long story short, I’m feeling a little better everyday.

That was the medical summary, but the reason I’m chiming in today is because it’s time…

I love words. To me, using the right words at the right time in the right way is among the most important things we do as people.

Problem is…words don’t cut it with this.

From the moment this caring bridge blog was sent out to you guys…my people, there has been an outpouring of concern for my family and I that causes me to weep as I think about it. Truth told, I’m only now thinking about it and letting myself feel it in a real way. I’ve been dodging your calls and not even reading your texts, largely because of how terribly out of place I feel being the one on the receiving end of this thing. It’s my joy to look you in the eyes and remind you of how strong your are and moreover, how strong Jesus is for you in your weakness. I must be a classic bully because I can dish it out but I sure haven’t been able to take it.

Good News… I can take it now.

I’ve listened to all the vm’s and read all the texts now. I’ve wept in gratitude as I consider the reality that you, and because of you, an army, literally an army of people have come alongside Rebecca and I and covered us in prayer, meals, childcare, and a million assurances of how much you love us and how you would literally drop everything to help us in any way.

It feels like a small and insufficient word to you use in light of what I’m feeling, but it’s the only word I know….THANK YOU.

Moving forward, we’ll need less and less physical support as I get stronger and more used to the rhythms of dialysis. That said, what we need more and more of is prayer. I’m convinced that God will bring us through this. Thing is, my great hope is to move myself and Rebecca and the boys through it in a way that we come out on the other side having taken giant steps towards Jesus in closeness and in faith. Please pray that God would use this to teach us all the things were are supposed to be learning. Pray we would all lean in, rather than run when things are hard. Pray that Rebecca would have supernatural stamina as she manages our home, our kids, my health, and work. It’s not sustainable in her own strength, it demands Jesus…beg him with me on her behalf. Pray that our boys Eli 9, Dylan 6, and Decker 14 would have unwavering peace and confidence in the everyday and they watch Rebecca and I fight this battle.Pray that I would do well in embracing my new life. Currently I spend too much time daydreaming about how wonderful my life was just a few days ago rather than spending time reading and learning and behaving like a man totally set on making a full recovery. There is a lot of big boy stuff coming up and nothing short of God will give me the mojo to get after it. I don’t know if you heard, but I’m incredibly immature and not very bright… this next season is the stuff of men. I covet your prayers.

This post is going out to all the people that have been getting them since the beginning.

As you know…I need to share the story, It’s what I do.

From here out, I’ll be telling it back on my personal blog and then posting on social media. Best way to maintain front row seats would be to subscribe to the blog, that way the posts get emailed to you as I post them.

On behalf of Rebecca and I and the kids, again…thank you for loving us so well and so much, it’s profound to know in such a real way just how much we are loved by our people.

I Love You,



3:00 PM on Jan 9th…”Yea well guess what, I’m not going to the emergency room cuz my legs are a little swollen and I have some shortness of breath.” The nurse on the phone pleaded with me and literally made me promise her I’d go if my symptoms got any worse. I sarcastically agreed and got off the phone.
I shook it off and proceeded to finish my day at work then came home and spent some time with Rebecca and the kids. All the while, my legs seemed a bit more swollen. Around six that evening, I got my things together and headed over to my pastors house for our 1st book study of the year. Myself along with 11 other men from church are going to read 10 books together over the next year. The plan is to gather monthly at each others homes to have dinner and discuss the prior months book, pray, and pick up the new book. The great news about our 1st meeting was that Brian and his wife made SHRIMP BOIL! Holy Moly Good.
As I sat at the table, eating delicious food and talking about powerful things with my new friends, I could feel the skin in my legs getting tighter…the swelling was getting worse. One of my best friends happened to be in the group as well, really the only person I knew other than our pastor. ” Check out these tree trunks dude.” His eyes got wide and I quietly told him I was gonna stop by the ER on the way home to make sure it wasn’t something serious….
The story get a little more emotional from here on, I need a minute…but I’ll post again soon, just needed to get going.

15 thoughts on “Tree Trunks…Shrimp Boil…Kindey Failure

  1. Thanks for sharing John, You have been in Jan and my prayers, Janice and Rick have shared a little as to whats has been going on, please lets us know how we can specifically pray for you and Rebecca and the boys. Brad

    1. Thanks Brad, we covet your prayers. Pray that I would have the courage to move into this new normal in a healthy way, both mentally and spiritually. Moreover, pray for supernatual stamina and peace and she moves through this time.

  2. John, we have been praying for your situation since Janice sent the prayer request. Glad you are on the mend and Beth and I will continue praying for you and your family. Thanks for hosting this blog and allowing us to see God at work in your life. Blessings to you all, Steve and Beth Fuller.

  3. Thank you for your willingness to share Gods story of faithfulness 🙂 I’d been praying for you and your family, specifically for Rebecca’s strength, and will continue to do so!

  4. John, once Janice told me today what you been going through, I was in disbelief. My prayers are with you and the family.

  5. Will be praying. Never know why God let’s these things happen to the good ones…. maybe you are a bigger boy than u thought and God knows He can use you for some good in this way….. we are a living sacrifice…. yet…. it… really sucks. Hang in there
    … there’s always a bigger picture….pray for a miracle….
    Keep your sense of humour….
    We are praying for u here… and your family….

  6. Praise God you are able to share this now… we now know how to Pray for you and Rebecca during this tough season and it is a Blessing to see how you are and will use this for HIS Glory… you will be in my ongoing Prayer as you update this BLOG. Love, your ex-neighbors Tim and Renie Ayres

  7. Praying for you John, and family. Especially for God’s grace upon Rebecca during this season. Praise God that you are choosing to trust Him during this test, knowing that He is the great physician.

    Love you in the Lord Jesus Christ!

  8. John, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Rebecca. I hope each day you continue on the road to recovery. I have enjoyed reading your posts over the years and seeing pictures of Eli.

  9. John, I am so sorry to hear about your medical problems, remember you have the love of the Lord as well as the love of your family and friends behind you, I can relate to health issues I was just in the hospital for six weeks myself. You will be in my daily thoughts and prayers and I’m hoping you have a speedy recovery and again I’m so sorry to hear what has happened, definitely please keep me advised, when you feel better let me know I’d love To stop by your House and visit for the day . Take care my friend I’ll be in touch. Ron

  10. Oh John I am so so sorry! I Am in tears for you and your family prayer to you and your family🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️💕💕💕💕you have always been so kind to me and I am saying thank you for that

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